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NHL Lockout: No News Is Bad News

NHL and its players continue to be at odds and the lockout persists, even after a few moments of optimism that a resolution could be had.

But NHLPA head Donald Fehr confirmed it got a lot worse.

Just minutes after Fehr updated the media that the union presented an offer that they thought put them in “complete agreement” with the NHL on the money aspects, he returned to the podium with some bad news.

The talks are off.

“This looks like it’s not going to be resolved in the immediate future,” Fehr said.

How bad is it? The players received word via voicemail that the proposal was unacceptable. That’s how bad.

The players association spent most of the day in internal meetings, trying to figure out how it wanted to respond to the offer made Wednesday night by the owners. The problem was it might have taken too long because when the players association went to make its presentation to the owners, Gary Bettman and the team owners were gone.

Here was the “unacceptable” offer:

— The union made an offer on an eight-year CBA with an opt-out clause after six seasons.

— Fehr explained that he believes there is an agreement on the pension issues which started to seem like a big concern this week.

— The players proposed capping player contracts at eight years instead of the five years the owners want.

— And, most important, Fehr said he believes they have come to a complete agreement on the financial issues, including on the “make-whole” issue.

The owners still want to cap the contracts at five years — seven years for players who re-sign with their team — while the players want to cap it at eight years. The other aspect of the contracts that needs to be hammered out at this point is the variance between years. The owners want to put a stop to back-diving contracts, so they still need to figure out the rules of escalation/decreases year-to-year in contracts.

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